- Date of publication 11-25-2008 Last August, at the National Pilgrimage organised by the Assumptionist Fathers, 30 places were offered to this Association that works with homeless people. Among them were Asians, Europeans including 2 gipsies, and Africans.
This pilgrimage was an opportunity for them to meet with other people, discover God and give them hope for the future. Eric said to us: "When I became homeless I lost the faith, was no longer interested. In Lourdes I learnt to love again and learnt one lesson in faith: never to give up. Going there was an initial victory over alcohol. With the help of God I am going to try and overcome my problem with alcohol. Lourdes gave me the possibility of standing erect and looking forward."
It was also a conversion experience for me as well, from being ill at ease with certain persons (transsexuals) I became able to accept them as they are: a man, a woman each one with their story; a child of God, loved by him, with a thirst to be accepted and loved by others.
It took me a week to begin to fully discover, recognise and accept these people who have experienced the insecurity of homelessness, the drama of prostitution. As trust gradually built up we tried little by little to communicate. In spite of the language barrier, I was able to understand what the other was saying and with a few words to make myself understood. I detected a difficult path, an experience of deep suffering, an awareness of poverty but the assurance of God's presence in their lives. Through this dialogue, the other became a real person, like a brother or a sister who wanted to be recognised and appreciated in their dignity as a man or a woman with the growing awareness of themselves that the Lord was asking me to accept.
Mary's word to Bernadette: "She treated me as a real person" took on its full meaning.
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